09 December 2010

Springfield's push for NRL team

Springfield is planning a multi-million dollar sports club facility in a bid to secure an NRL team.

The facility will only be built if the Jets NRL hopes are successful.

Consultant to the Ipswich Jets NRL bid, Brian Canavan, said he was finalising details of a high performance centre that would become the club's home if they were granted an NRL licence.

The facility would be similar to the Broncos' Red Hill base, but whether a leagues club would also become part of the centre is undecided.

Mr Canavan, Sydney Roosters chief executive for five years until 2008, said it was critical to establish a home for the Jets NRL club which hoped to be granted the league's 17th licence for the 2013 season.

"We will likely be playing out of Suncorp Stadium for the first few years so we need a true home base in the corridor and Springfield is the best option for where we want to represent," he said.

"We have not defined the club's boundaries yet, but it will roughly be Ipswich and Toowoomba, then out towards Logan."

Springfield, on the border of Logan and Ipswich, is the fastest-growing region in Australia.

A passenger train line connecting the city to Brisbane will be operational in 2013.

Jets chairman Steve Johnson, who hired Mr Canavan to conduct a feasibility study for the bid, said Springfield was the heart of the western corridor.

"Our club will be a community-based club so you want to be where the fans are and Springfield is right in the middle of our patch," Mr Johnson said.

"We will also be looking to strengthen our ties to Logan and Toowoomba plus you will have the Jets in North Ipswich."

Mr Canavan said the amount of support for rugby league in the western corridor should help the region be granted an NRL club.

"Gallop (NRL chief executive David) loves facts and numbers and the fact is this region has the best case based on numbers," he said.

"In Ipswich and Toowoomba alone you have 5500 junior rugby league players, that is far more than just about every Sydney rugby league club.

"When you add in some Logan areas and the outskirts of Brisbane you are talking about 9000 to 13,000 juniors.

"Juniors mean families and families mean generational support."

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